Many people shy away from taking risks, but Gina Nigrelli-Smith and her husband Brian have always relished the chance to chase new adventures and embrace new experiences. After striking up a whirlwind romance in 2002, the pair quickly relocated to Las Vegas to pursue their individual passions. While she learned the ropes of merchandising at Diesel, he gained invaluable knowledge of the wine industry as a sommelier at an exclusive restaurant.
Drawn to one another’s fervor for adventure and opportunity, the duo jumped at the chance to move to Chicago to further explore Brian’s career path. While he moved into a career in trading, Gina furthered her education, receiving a Masters degree in fashion merchandising. Eventually their insatiable drive and curiosity led them all the way to the US Virgin Islands, where she was compelled to combine her experience and education to create a line of jewelry that reflected the spirit of all of her travels and the distinct style aesthetics of each place they called home.
In 2006 Gina founded contemporary jewelry line Jules Smith in the basement of their Caribbean digs, where she crafted the initial collection by hand. The line’s unique blend of bold, edgy silhouettes juxtaposed with soft, vintage details quickly garnered the attention of major fashion stylists and soon landed on Rihanna on the cover of GQ. This placement was the moment Gina knew she had something truly special on her hands. Her ability to remain on the pulse of pop culture while in a remote foreign location encouraged her to keep pushing herself and her brand to new heights.
Though the brand was popping up in the pages of glossy magazines before it was even in stores, it wasn’t long before Gina’s dedicated hustle led the brand to a prestigious New York showroom where the line swiftly became a staple on the shelves of major retailers such as Shopbop, Neiman Marcus and Barney’s, to name a few.
As momentum began to build for Jules Smith, the designer’s husband found himself drawn back to his roots in the wine industry. Brian resolved to turn his dream of founding a wine company into a reality. After extensive world travels, the couple wanted to create wines that invoked the energy and romance of the places that had influenced them the most. After much discussion, Brian and Gina determined that nowhere held a place in their souls quite like Argentina and France. Taking these locales as inspiration, their newest joint entrepreneurial venture gave birth to two coveted wines, “Loca Linda,” a Malbec from Argentina and “Jolie Folle,” a Provence Rose. Both names translate to “crazy beautiful,” the phrase by which Brian and Gina have lived their bold, exhilarating lives.
By 2007 the pair’s businesses were skyrocketing and they relocated, once again, off to Brooklyn where they could ensure new opportunities for success. Four years and many growing pains later, Gina found herself seven months pregnant and in the midst of yet another move, this time to Los Angeles. It was in California where they immediately felt a brand new connection. Brian set off on his next adventure, merging his loves of wine and tech, and Gina found herself back at the beach, her very first source of inspiration.
Since arriving in Venice Beach, the bi-coastal Jules Smith brand has become a thriving presence in the contemporary jewelry landscape, and Brian and Gina have embarked on their wildest adventure thus far: parenthood. Their first child, Nico, was born in 2011 and was soon followed by Ruby in 2014. The family now happily calls Venice, Los Angeles home and continues to grow their crazy beautiful life as business powerhouses, partners and daring dreamers.